My husband and I are planning our first trip to Europe in 2010. We are currently planning to go around September/ October.
I am looking for some advice on possible daily costs for this trip. We want to visit London, Paris, Prague, Berlin and possibly some part of Italy. We don't want luxurious accomodation and would be happy to stay in hostels if we get our own room/ bathroom. Otherwise, cheap hotels would be fine also.
We plan on spending between 4 to 6 weeks in total. I am wondering if anyone can give me a basic cost estimate for a trip of this kind to these destinations (not including flights)? We want to see alot but we don't want to backpck either. Any help would be much appreciated! I know this is probably too broad a question, but thought it was worth a shot.
(We are Australian so if you use other currency, can you please just let me know what currency you are referring to? Thank you!)
General recommendation is to have €100 per person per day (that's about AUS$162 on today's exchange rate):
- accommodation €35-€50 per person per night in either private room in hostel or budget hotel
- food about €30-35 per person, to include lunch in reasonably-priced restaurant; no fancy dining I'm afraid but it's at least one hot meal per day, and dinner can be sandwich, or local fastfood; it can be cheaper if you opt to buy from supermarket and cook at the hostel (but no such option for hotel)
- local transportation about €6 or so for a day ticket; can be saved if you stay somewhere central and opt to walk around
- sightseeing about €15-€20 for entrance tickets and such, although some sights are free; in certain cities, consider getting a museum passs as they may work out cheaper than paying individual tickets
London would be quite expensive, Paris reasonably expensive, Italy should be mid-range, and Prague can be cheap or expensive depending on if you're close to touristy area or not (at least that's what I found).
If you type in a location and hostelworld you can get fairly cheap and reasonable accommodation. If you do not eat out but buy food in supermarkets, you can get it cheaper (ie: I was in Spain recently and in a Mercadona bought a half kilo of good quality ham for 2 euros and a long loaf of cut bread for one euro). There are a number of cheap airlines like Ryanair, Easyjet, etc which will fly you from country to country or even around a country fairly cheaply (trains are not cheap). Weather can be uncertain that time of year (start early September if possible) so take a small umbrella and something warm, in case.
Assuming you are flying in and out of London, you could get a Ryanair flight to Rome and work your way back to London.
While it is true buying at supermarket will be cheaper etc, but you're away in Europe, do try some of the local cuisine if possible. If restaurants are seemingly out of budget, look for local food markets and get fresh bread, cheese, cured meat and fruits there - like the locals do.
We have a TP guide to eating out in Paris and I've just started working on that. Hopefully by the time you visit, it would be updated and you should be able to get some idea of where to eat in Paris (even restaurants) on budget and still get great food. (My friends and I are on mission to check out a fair few eateries at affordable prices)
Thank you both, that was incredibly helpful. I imagine we will eat out for most of our meals, maybe with the exception of breakfast so that will probably make it a bit more expensive. Your estimates make me feel much better- I was thinking we may need alot more than that.
I have heard people mention Eurorail passes. Would you suggest trains between countries rather than flights? How regularly do the trains run? Do you know for example how long it would take to get from France to Germany via train? I tried finding this information but am not having much luck. I am a bit of newbie with this stuff!
Europe has an amazing train network and trains in general runs regularly. How long it takes to travel from one place to another depends on the distance, and for long distances, there are often overnight trains to be takened. Each country has their own train operator site (e.g. France - Voyages-SNCF, Italy - Trenitalia, Germany - Deutsche Bahn, DB) but for purposes of searches to get an idea on time for travel and connections involved (if any), DB is great for that as they also generate results for non-German trains.
The Eurail Pass would be of good value if you're doing a lot of long distance travels on the train. As there are 2 of you travelling at the same time, look for the saver pass which will work out cheaper. Travelling by night train is usually easy from one main city to another (e.g. Paris to Venice) as there won't be any train changes involved. You could save some money for accommodation for that night, and save some day time for more sightseeing, but you may also find it hard to sleep well thus remain tired after the long night journey.
With some forward and thorough planning, it may be possible to get point-to-point train tickets cheaper than using the Eurail pass. There are often online discounts for advance purchases, and in general tickets are available 3 months in advance. But it does take a good bit of work, and rather meticulous planning and scheduling, as some of the best price tickets are non-changeable and non-refundable.
In my opinion, generally, flying is time-saving only if the train journey is more than 5 hours long. Anything less it would have been quicker and more convenient with train. Consider time to get to airport (can be around an hour), prerequisite time at the airport for check-in, security and whats not (give it 2 hours), flight time (roughly 1-2 hours), and time to get from airport to city centre (another hour). See what I mean?
There are budget airlines like Ryanair that you can take, and fares can be very cheap, but you MUST know their terms well in order not to end up paying through your nose for whole lot of extra charges. For one, they have very strictly luggage allowance (10kg hand luggage, 15kg checked luggage - there's charge for checked luggage, non shareable despite on same booking) and everyone's required to check in online (so you must have access to internet and printer while on the road) or else you'll be fined heavily for check in at the airport. Little things like that. And often their airports are far from the city since they don't normally use the main airport of the city (e.g. the so-called Paris-Beauvais airport is some 80+ km away from Paris and it's not even in the region of Ile-de-France anymore).